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Grapes: Snacks from the heart

Grapes are full of nutrients and antioxidants.

(NAPS) – Whether it’s a snack on the run, a romantic dinner for two, or a last-minute entertainment engagement, grapes add style and grace to any table. So, indulge in the pleasure of eating fruits from the vine anytime with grapes.

Grapes have long since been the food of choice for royalty, symbolizing wealth and prosperity. Little did those early rulers know about the health benefits held within those delicate, flavorful morsels of nature.

Current research indicates that grapes offer unique phyto (plant) nutrients and antioxidants that may contribute to the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Phytochemicals are natural plant substances that work with nutrients and dietary fiber to protect against disease. Antioxidants are believed to prevent cell damage that occurs from everyday wear and tear on the body. They are also thought to prevent heart disease by inhibiting the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries (a result of oxidation), as well as inhibiting cancerous tumor growth. In addition to the health benefits, grapes are an excellent afternoon snack, a lunchtime dessert or a pleasant addition to salads and fruit baskets. Frozen grapes are a great alternative to sugary deserts. You can achieve your nutritional goals effortlessly. Try adding grapes to yogurt, gelatin or peanut butter celery sticks.

Fresh California table grapes are available in a rainbow of bright colors including pale green, ruby red and jeweled purple. The most common of the more than 50 varieties include Thompson Seedless (green), Flame Seedless (red) and Exotics (blue-black).

Honey-spiced grapes

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 2-3 drops real vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur or brandy
  • 1 cup green seedless grapes
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup black seedless grapes
  • Sugar and lemon twist garnish

In a small saucepan stir together the sugar and water. Add the cardamom, cloves and star anise. Simmer for 15 minutes or until syrupy; set aside to cool. Strain out the spices and stir in the vanilla, orange and lemon zest, honey and liqueur. Add the grapes and toss lightly. To serve, sugar the edge of 4 martini glasses, fill with the grapes and syrup, and garnish with a lemon twist. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving, 150 cal., 0.8 g protein, 0.7 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 3 mg sodium

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Cynthia Lopinto

Cyn LoPinto, M.A. is a gerontologist focusing on significant issues affecting older adults and their families. Her areas of interest include lifestyle enrichment, family dynamics, and caregiver support. Cyn has worked in both the recreational and healthcare industries.

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